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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Gala fundraiser for Mountain climber

Meaford | by Daryl Morris  

A Meaford woman wants to honour the memory of her son, by climbing Mount Everest

If you still haven't decided where to take your Valentine, there's still time to do something special for them, and support a good cause.

The Canadian Mental Health Association is hosting its first ever Sweetheart Valentine's Gala this Saturday at the Golf Club at Lora Bay & Raven Grill.

Spokesperson Jackie Ralph says they're trying to raise awareness for mental health issues, and support a Meaford mom who is climbing Mount Everest.

Maggie Holmes lost her son, Ryan, five years ago, when he committed suicide.

Ryan suffered from psychosis.

Holmes says she wants to take away the stigma behind suicide and mental illnesses, and instead turn it into an "S" for survivor.

She's decided to climb Everest, and raise at least one dollar for every foot high the world's tallest mountain is.

That's a goal of just under 30 thousand dollars, and she has set up a website at

That money will be used by the Grey-Bruce chapter of the Canadian Mental Health Association to raise money for Mental Health First Aid training.

Ralph says it will help people reach out to and recognize those with mental health issues -- especially youth.

Ralph says almost a dozen youth suicides were committed in Grey-Bruce last year, and that number is unacceptable.

The gala will offer dinner, entertainment, dancing and a Sweetheart Balloon Raffle -- in which you could win a thousand dollar diamond pendant.

And although the dress code is "black tie," Holmes says she doesn't want that to discourage anyone from coming.

She says you can feel comfortable wearing whatever you like, and she will be giving out Climbing to Conquer t-shirts, as well as Cubicle Clothing shirts - a clothing line her son started before he died.

The gala is from 6 PM until midnight on Saturday, February 12th.

There are free shuttle buses available from Markdale, Flesherton, Owen Sound, Thornbury and Collingwood.

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